Sword or rapier?

Hitchens takes down Coulter in his own special way.

She has emerged as a persona because she has mastered the politics of resentment, and because she can combine the ideology of Human Events (the obscure ‘Joe McCarthy was right’ magazine) with the demand of the chat-show bookers for a tall blonde with a very rapid delivery on a wide range of subjects.

Ah yes the very rapid delivery thing. (I’ve never seen Coulter in action, but I’ve seen others.) I’ve never seen the appeal. I prefer the effete languid drawl of a Vidal or Hitchens that nails you without breaking a sweat. Much more amusing, also humiliating. Anyone can jabber; it’s those relaxed, casual, effortless bastards who can really make the blowhards look like fools. As Hitchens proceeds to do.

Here is another instance of the sheer incoherence that results from a mixture of feigned rage and low sarcasm…[T]he abject confusion, with its resounding non sequitur of a concluding sentence, impels her to the negation of her own supposed “argument”. These are the pitfalls that are set by spite and by haste, and Coulter topples leggily into them every time…So, slice it as you will, Coulter finds herself inventing new ways in which to be wrong. As it goes on, the book begins to seem more like typing than writing, and its demonstration of the relationship between poor language and crude ideas becomes more overt.

See what I mean? No need to say that quickly. No need for haste. Easy does it. Steady as she goes. Whack!

If it matters, I am with her on the tepid climate of moral and political relativism which, while it wants all children to do equally well at exam time, also regards the United States as no worse than the Taliban and thus, by an unspoken logic, as no better. But a polemic against this mentality cannot really be written by a McCarthyite.

Or by someone who’s not very good at writing or thinking clearly, or by someone who invents new ways to be wrong. Not useful talents for that particular job.

In a world where the true enemies of civilization are much, much more godly than the blonde goddess of the hard Right, Coulter is reduced to a blitzing of soft civilian targets – one redeemed only by its built-in tendency to fall so wide of the mark.

That’s how it’s done.

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